Colors have a big role when it comes to food photography, there’s no question about that. However, it’s not just about rendering the colors of food items in the most mouthwatering hues and shades. The playful and vibrant project of China-based photographer Mavis Malin shows us how we can get playful with colors to create eye-catching food photography projects.

I find food photography to be one of the most interesting genres to experiment with. Mouthwatering food photography is everywhere especially with its prevalence in social media, but I think we don’t see thought-provoking approaches that often. It’s actually inspiring whenever photographers across the globe use food and food items to make unique and creative takes on the genre. This project is definitely one of them.

Playing with colors in the kitchen

Mavis actually gave a fitting name to this series: “Color of Kitchen Stuff.” This suggests the many different ways the kitchen can serve as a creative playground for highlighting the colors of food and food items. I like how he was able to achieve this by using chopping boards and basins of different colors for this purpose.

It’s refreshing to see how both pastels and bright shades worked really well to bring our attention to the food and their natural colors. I also think that having a solid foundation on color theory will work to any creative’s advantage when it comes to projects like this, whether as a food stylist or food photographer.

Simplicity is key

One thing that I noticed works best for creative approaches like this is to keep the scene or set up simple and let the symphony of colors take center stage. In that sense, I like how Mavis kept the set design clean and minimalist, with only a handful of elements present in the photos. This food photography style makes the viewers focus on the beautiful mix of colors and lead the eyes to the food items being featured.

For the shots that did get a little busy, I think they still worked since they were put together using contrasting yet complementary colors to lead our eyes throughout the frame. In a way, simplicity was still at work in these shots since we don’t see a lot of clashing patterns or shapes that would otherwise take away our focus on the main subjects.

If you’re looking for a different way to capture and present food in your photography projects, I hope Mavis’ beautiful project inspired you to play with colors. Start with simple elements and concepts, and don’t forget to keep your color theory lessons handy!

Don’t forget to visit Mavis Malin’s Behance portfolio to see more of his creative food photography projects.

All photos by Mavis Malin. Used with Creative Commons permission.